Our Baptist founders sought to establish an institution of higher learning that would “meet the needs of all ages to come.” Baylor University has steadfastly devoted itself for more than 170 years to the pursuit of academic excellence animated by Christian faith. Now more than ever, Baylor has the opportunity to demonstrate how both faith and reason reveal truth, how scholarly discovery inspired by religious commitment brings knowledge and wisdom, and how a preeminent Christian university, through its teaching, research, and service, might offer a distinctive voice and presence in the contemporary world.
The dual emphases of Baylor University’s motto, Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana (For Church, for Texas) — signifying Baylor’s role as a Christian institution of higher education serving society — have provided the animating spirit of Baylor’s identity and practices over the decades. Today, Baylor remains a place where the Lordship of Jesus Christ is embraced, studied, and celebrated.
Baylor’s culture of intellectual curiosity and academic freedom is an expression of Baylor’s Christian identity. We are called as Christians to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. Accordingly, Baylor’s faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to exploring and deepening our understanding of how the life of the mind and the life of faith are united. Through an intentional, campus-wide emphasis on Christian values and perspectives, Baylor prepares students to serve as leaders in their professions and communities who will have the faith and integrity to do what is right in the face of competing pressures.
Although Baylor’s calling is compelling, the attempt to be authentically Christian while aspiring for research and teaching excellence is undeniably challenging. Religious faith in academic contexts is often considered at best irrelevant and at worst an obstacle to outstanding research and teaching. Yet, Baylor has deliberately pursued the path of having our Christian commitment marked by a strong investment in teaching, research, and service. Baylor’s Christian mission stands not as an extra condition to its current aspirations, but at the very heart of the matter.
Fostering an environment where Baylor’s Christian mission can flourish, therefore, requires concerted attention and effort. In the coming years, Baylor will continue to recruit and hire the most talented and accomplished faculty who resolutely embrace Baylor’s distinctive Christian mission. Likewise, Baylor will continue to offer mission-centric faculty formation programs that shape how faculty envision their teaching, mentoring, and research. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be encouraged at every turn to see their education as an opportunity to understand how they are called, each in unique ways, to offer their gifts and talents in the service of God and others. Moreover, Baylor will enhance opportunities for students to grow not only intellectually, but morally and spiritually, both in and out of the classroom. Finally, Baylor will focus on how academic programs and research initiatives might more fully address the unique concerns of a world in need and how Baylor, as an expression of its Christian convictions, might meet those needs for “all ages to come.”